The mechanisms underlying reduced red blood cell (RBC) deformability during Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) malaria remain poorly understood. Here, we explore the possible involvement of the L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO) pathway on RBC deformability in Pf-infected patients and parasite cultures. RBC deformability was reduced during the acute attack (day0) and returned to normal values upon convalescence (day28). Day0 values correlated with plasma L-arginine levels (r = 0.69; p = 0.01) and weakly with parasitemia (r = −0.38; p = 0.006). In vitro, day0 patient's plasma incubated with ring-stage cultures at 41°C reduced RBC deformability, and this effect correlated strongly with plasma L-arginine levels (r = 0.89; p < 0.0001). Moreover, addition of exogenous L-arginine to the cultures increased deformability of both Pf-free and trophozoite-harboring RBCs. NO synthase activity, evidenced in Pf-infected RBCs, induced L-arginine-dependent NO production. These data show that hypoargininemia during P.falciparum malaria may altogether impair NO production and reduce RBC deformability, particularly at febrile temperature.